Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) has asked state authorities to ban the use of the name “Redskins” when the Washington (_blank_) travel to play the Minnesota Vikings on Nov. 7. In the same spirit, and for many of the same reasons, I think it is time for the Minnesota Vikings to drop their offensive name as well.
First of all, the Vikings were the first group of Europeans to attempt to reach and settle the New World. That effort would culminate, centuries later, in the journeys of Columbus and the subsequent extermination of Native Americans. If “Redskins” is offensive, the name of their original would-be oppressors is even more so.
Second, the Vikings symbol is an inaccurate depiction of the people of Minnesota, who are quite diverse–only about one-third are Scandinavian. Furthermore, “Viking” is also a stereotype of Minnesota’s Scandinavians, not all of whom are descended from Vikings, and few of whom are warlike plunderers with primitive weapons.
Finally, it is unfair to describe the game played by the Minnesota team as “football.” They have lost each of the four Super Bowls in which they have appeared, and only have one win this season (over a previously winless team). Let us not set expectations beyond what the team can reasonably achieve. It is time for “Vikings” to go.
Full disclosure: the author is a Chicago Bears fan. No actual bears are harmed in the Chicago Bears, only starting quarterbacks.